NEVER GIVE UP! AND I WON’T. BUT I MAY BE FORCED TO GIVE UP MY HOME, THIS LAND, AND THE SACRED BIRCH GROVE.
I have not spoken of this because it seemed we could handle it and survive as we have been doing, right on the edge. But the town has now raised our taxes, and the burden is too great. A few people who know of our long struggle have asked what might save us, and here are the pertinent facts and my thoughts.
One problem is that I own this property, in partnership with Donna Dill of the Nature School. Our community sold it to Cynthia of the Nature School years ago with the understanding that I would live on in my house here and be caretaker of the land. When she got divorced Cynthia's ex-husband would have gotten the property and wanted to throw us out, so Donna and I had to buy it to save the land for us and The Nature School. For some years we have struggled to pay the mortgage and the taxes, which keep getting higher, but this last raise is too much for us.
What we need is to raise $150,000 in donations for the Nature School so it could buy the land from us again and pay off the mortgage. Then the school would only have to pay the property taxes, which would be reduced because of the non-profit corporation status and the work of the Nature School, which we could then continue here. Donations to The Nature School Foundation for this purpose would of course be tax-deductible in the USA.
I just walked out to the sweat lodge area in the woods. The trees of autumn are glowing gold and copper and bronze, and the light from the carpet of fallen leaves and the light they reflect fills the woods with mystery and magic. I came over thirty years ago to lead our first sweat here, and I promised I would always protect this land. We had sixteen people for our monthly sweat and circle last Saturday. Where can our ex-prisoners go if we lose this land? What will happen to the Nature School?
I have three dreams now in my eightieth year of life. The prison program which I have maintained for a quarter of a century, the Nature School which has a twelve year history, and the Circle Way Village, which is still to manifest. Perhaps it is too much to have three dreams, because it feels now that I am failing all of them.
But I can still write, and I can still speak, and I will never give up.
- Manitonquat (Medicine Story)